A Democratic Experimentalist Theory of Institutions



This chapter introduces ‘democratic experimentalism’ as the most significant contemporary attempt to revivify and reactualize the pragmatist approach to the democratic relevance of private and public institutions. The chapter reviews the most relevant theories of democratic experimentalism in political sociology, political theory, constitutionalism, and theory of organizations, with the aim of developing a distinctive approach, which emphasizes the two factors of social learning and distributed cooperation as the main contributions of a pragmatist theory of democracy to the problem of social innovation. In the last section I propose to read democratic experimentalism as a theory of ‘realist utopias’.


Democratic experimentalism Democratic institutions Institutionalism John Dewey 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Marc BlochBerlinGermany

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